MUSIC Matters brings Local and International Artists To Ann Arbor

MUSIC Matters was founded with one main principle in mind: unite the campus through live music performances. Nine years later, MM still strives to be a platform for both local artists and national acts to share their music with the University of Michigan community. Our Talent and Concert committee has been working diligently at bringing performers of all kinds to Ann Arbor and just this month MM hosted a live music event at Good Time Charley’s and the pop duo Icona Pop at Necto Nightclub.

On September 19th, MM brought together four local acts for “Party on the Patio” at Charley’s. The good-weathered September night allowed members of the Ann Arbor community to relax on the Charley’s patio and enjoy musical performances from Winnie, Ryan Werner, No Fun Haus, and MEBO & Miri Elle. All of the acts were either current or former University of Michigan students, and each showed their individuality in their set.

Winnie was the first artist to take the stage and treated the audience to original songs as she sang and played the guitar. During one song, she confessed that she was still in the midst of writing and was going to read the lyrics off her phone. Her vulnerability and pure talent shone through and she set the night right on track. 

Up next was another former U of M student, Ryan Werner. Ryan serenaded the crowd with a variety of covers whilst playing the guitar. Ryan has performed in multiple Ann Arbor locations, including the popular artist venue The Blind Pig. 

Our first band of the night was popular Ann Arbor group No Fun Haus. The Michigan native band consists of four U of M seniors who have been performing throughout Ann Arbor and playing frequent local shows. They plan on releasing their full LP in January 2020, and MUSIC Matters cannot wait to support them in their new release. 

Capping off the night of performances was MM’s very own Miri Elle who joined forces with MEBO for an incredibly soulful set. The duo are a part of OSSI Music, an Ann Arbor based music collective that aims to provide soundtracks filled with creativity  and meaning to its listeners. Just last week, Miri Elle released her debut EP ‘April’ and MUSIC Matters is proud to support her in her musical endeavors, as well as her work as a member of our organization. 

In addition to organizing an event for students, MUSIC Matters also kicked off the year by bringing a national act to Ann Arbor. From having their 2012 hit single “I Love It” on the Hot 100 Billboard chart for 29 weeks straight, to opening for artists like One Direction and Katy Perry, Icona Pop brought powerful, vibrant energy to Ann Arbor when they performed at Necto Nightclub on October 3rd. With the help of Ignyte Events and Necto, MUSIC Matters brought the Swedish electro-pop duo to campus for a night of lights, music, and dancing. The show started off strong with opening acts from DigiMark, Selina Style, and Disc Jockey George, and capped off the event with a  Icona Pop DJ set. The duo takes pride in their ability to create a disco-pop environment for their fans, and they were able to successfully pull off an amazing show. The night ended with confetti flying through the air as the club sang along to Icona Pop’s greatest hits. 

We can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings and what talent from the community MUSIC Matters is able to bolster and support. As long as artists share their music, MM will always be working to create a platform for their expression. Whether it’s nationally recognized artists or up and coming passionate student-performers, MUSIC Matters gives a platform to share music and create memories. 

A Look Into the Upcoming Year

At the start of each school year, the U of M campus is packed with students seeking to find a community that suits their personal interests and professional endeavors. It can be overwhelming; students nudge through tremendous crowds at club fairs for an attempt at finding a booth that might pique their interest. Pillars are plastered with vibrant flyers advertising each club, and students are trying to find that one, special organization that they believe they can develop a passion for. MUSIC Matters is one of the many clubs seeking out those on campus that are searching for an organization that aligns with their interests. And each year we welcome ambitious students with a passion for service and an underlying love of music.

The leadership team has been working diligently to ensure the club’s mission and values are vocalized widely to both new and returning members throughout our recruitment process. As MUSIC Matters moves into its eighth year as an organization, the club is being led by co-presidents Noah Dobbertin and Amanda Gross, two seniors dedicated to helping MM reach its full potential. In order to do that, MUSIC Matters is focusing on mission alignment; we want to ensure that all of our ventures promote the organization’s goal of using music to create educational opportunities while celebrating the vibrant Michigan community. 

As prospective members filed into the mass meetings, we were able to reflect and proudly share all the success MUSIC Matters has had. Just last year, we hosted shows at Necto, worked with two CoMMunity partners on campus, held several local talent showcases, hosted a fashion show in the UMMA, put on another successful MOvE camp, and capped off the year with another prosperous SpringFest. While we are incredibly proud of all our triumphs from last year, we are even more excited to watch the club grow and see our upcoming events and initiatives come to fruition. We plan to continue encouraging the entire Ann Arbor community to join us and contribute to our success. 

To expand the reach of MM on campus and encourage more to join, our new Chief of Staff, Adam Seltzer, has been passionately working to incorporate DEI: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, into our recruitment process. MUSIC Matters takes pride in our ability and commitment to unite the U of M and Ann Arbor community, and emphasizing DEI in our recruitment process furthers our devotion to creating an atmosphere that embraces members from all backgrounds.  The University of Michigan highlights that DEI is a three pronged process, explaining that “Diversity is where everyone is invited to the party, equity means that everyone gets to contribute to the playlist, and inclusion means that everyone has the opportunity to dance,” and MUSIC Matters cannot wait for another year of giving the community a welcoming festival for all to dance at. 

While mass meetings wrap up and applications roll in, MM could not be more excited to begin the new school year with a group of students who are passionate about music and making a difference. Already, we have locked in a local talent night at Charley’s on September 19th as well as different Necto shows like Icona Pop on October 3rd and Lost Kings on December 5th with tickets available to purchase now. We cannot wait to see all the astonishing ideas our new members will contribute to the club, and we look forward to another amazing year of growing as a club and community within. 

MOvE: The Evolution of Strangers to Friends

Courtney Fortin, Head of Public Relations

How do you turn 30 high schoolers and 12 college students into a group of friends in less than 48 hours? Pure, wholesome fun.

Screen Shot 2019-06-04 at 1.21.22 AM.png

Last month, MUSIC Matters hosted its third annual Michigan Overnight Experience camp for students from Henry Ford Academy, and I was lucky enough to be a counselor for the weekend. As a member of the marketing committee, I only had a general understanding of the various social ventures MUSIC Matters has spearheaded like our student to student scholarship and community partnerships. I knew that the premise of MOvE was to emphasize the importance and accessibility of college for underprivileged high school students, and I knew that I wanted to be involved in helping to inspire them. What I didn’t know, however, was that the kids would end up equally inspiring me and all the other counselors just as much. Come Sunday evening, I was leaving MOJO with a sense of optimism and cheer after spending the weekend with some of the most ambitious, joyful kids I had ever met.

When I arrived, I had no idea what I was getting myself into it, and I was skeptical that the kids would take the weekend seriously. If high school Courtney came to Ann Arbor and spent the weekend on campus, she definitely would not have experienced even an ounce of the maturity these kids expressed; I was blown away by the bravery, confidence, and optimism from freshmen in high school. These kids courageously confessed their fears and hopes for after high school in group bonding sessions and genuinely engaged in meaningful conversations.

From Friday to Sunday, students from HFA were exposed to the U of M campus and culture while learning about themselves and discovering what their future ambitions may be. From icebreaker games that asked campers if they kept their horses in the back, exploring Ann Arbor’s graffiti alley on the night walk, or kicking a field goal on the Big House field, the entire weekend was packed with activities that ultimately helped grow friendships between the counselors and campers. It’s easy to put into words our scheduled itinerary for each day, but it’s hard to convey the conversations, laughs, and feelings that exuded from each group throughout the weekend.

Though it’s hard to fully communicate the meaningful memories MOvE provided me, the moments which really stuck out were when the campers opened up about their passions and hobbies. One girl told me that her five older siblings all dropped out of high school, and she was the last hope of going to college in her family. This same camper explained that in her free time she likes to read scholastic journals on the hole in the ozone layer and she hopes to one day conduct her own experiments. Another camper professed his love for music and explained that his dream is to be a performer one day; some of the other counselors were even lucky enough to hear a snippet of his raps. (Remember us when you’re famous, Mike!)

Ultimately yes, MOvE is about teaching young high schoolers the importance of goal-setting and being ambitious, but it’s also about getting to know people you would have never crossed paths with and growing from one another. I thought that I would be the one encouraging the students to set values for themselves and strive to achieve great things, but the truth is they did that for me. I talked to a future brain surgeon, forensic chemist, and herpetologist (the study of reptiles, and yes she had to teach me what that meant), and they had a glimmer in their eyes I wish every high schooler had. They helped me understand that ambition and compassion are not constricted by socio-economic levels, and we can all learn a little something from each other. These freshmen in high school are blunt, honest, realistic, and find joy in simple things; they are everything I strive to be. These kids instilled hope in me I didn’t know I needed. They are the future, and I feel safe with the world being in their hands soon.

MOvE overall showed me that MUSIC Matters really does care about people and takes its goals as an organization seriously. As the campers were leaving, several came up to me and said they were excited to come back next year. I think it’s safe to say I am too.

RECAP: SpringFest 2019

On April 16th, MUSIC Matters held our 7th annual social impact lifestyle festival, SpringFest. The daytime portion of the event was held from 11am-4pm between South State Street and North U and access was free and open to the general public. The area was packed with interactive art installations, an assortment of food trucks, student-run campus organizations, artisans, start-up companies, and pop-up shops. Throughout the day, the area was host to various dance performances and musical performances, including by MUSIC Madness competition participants OSSI Music, Sabbatical Bob, and Wes on the day stage. The daytime festival was a huge success, and we were happy to see and serve students from across all corners of campus.

Another favorite aspect of SpringFest 2019 was the amazing arts activities that were offered throughout the day! Live in Color, a social impact organization at the university that aims to enhance the atmosphere in campus buildings and hallways through color and design, collaborated with MUSIC Matters to build a large interactive mural that festival-goers were able to paint and contribute to. We captured time-lapse footage of the mural progress throughout the day as well, so keep an eye out for that exciting video that will be posted our social media!

Screen Shot 2019-04-23 at 7.14.45 PM.png

Our Community Partners were a large focus of the SpringFest daytime festival, and we are thankful to have had the opportunity to share the projects that they have been working on this year. Heal-Move-Shift held a “treat-yo-self” station, complete with self-care activities and goodie bags in preparation for the impending school finals season, and we are excited to involve them in SpringFest again next year! Michigan Movement, our other Community Partner this year, was also a large contributor to the success of the day; they held a guessing game to teach festival-goers what goes into their typical care packages for the homeless, what does not, and why. In addition, they showcased artwork by a student on campus that highlighted the experiences of the homeless population and the impact that Michigan Movement has had on the population since their founding.

SpringFest was capped off with our nighttime benefit concert, which was held in Hill Auditorium starting at 7pm. The night was kicked off with Jeff Basta, who was followed by by our very own treasurer, who goes by the stage name Namix. MUSIC Madness competition first place winner Tracy Money and rapper B Free were our next two performers, and were followed by our concert headliner, A$AP Ferg. We were proud to showcase A$AP Ferg, the event was a huge success, and we cannot wait for SpringFest 2020!

MUSIC Madness 2019 Recap

- Danny Ivanov, Head of Local Talent

This past month, MUSIC Matters hosted its third annual MUSIC Madness tournament! Yet again, we were lucky enough to host a diverse group of incredibly talented musicians representing many different styles of music. Our competitors included the Adam Kahana Group, ALT. Facts, Coach Arthur, C-Note, Johnny IV, Jungwoo Chang, OSSI Music, p r o o f, Sabbatical Bob, Tracy Money, and Wes.

We are incredibly grateful for our outstanding panel of judges featuring representatives from fellow student orgs including Big Ticket Productions, Hip-Hop Congress, Maize Collective, and Stamp Nation, who helped decide, of the following six finalists, who will be performing at SpringFest.

OSSI Music

OSSI is a collective of artists, producers, and performers that was born at the University of Michigan in 2016, and is based here in Ann Arbor. Their influences stem from a wide range of genres, including soul, R&B, electronic, indie, and funk, allowing for a unique hybrid sound that is truly their own. Be sure to check out their incredible projects OSSI: Volume 1 and OSSI: Volume 2!

OSSI - Concert in the Diag 1-30.jpg


Wes is an artist and producer born in Los Angeles, raised in Portland, Oregon, and currently based at the University of Michigan. A dynamic musician, his performances are equal parts meditative and exciting. He’s been releasing a range of new singles available now on all streaming services.


Adam Kahana Group

Led by singer and guitarist Adam Kahana and featuring Jacob Warren on bass and Grant Flick on mandolin, this group provides a stellar combination of blues, folk, and jazz. Be sure to follow Adam’s social media for upcoming performances, and check out his debut recordings here.

Adam Kahana.jpg

Coach Arthur:

Coach Arthur is an alternative rock band based at the University of Michigan. With their undeniable chemistry and virtuosic talent, they’re surely an act to watch out for. Be sure to follow them on Instagram for updates and new content!

Coach Arthur2.png

Tracy Money

Tracy Money is a hip-hop group that has made quite a name for themselves across the University of Michigan campus. Featuring $cottie Pimpin’, Tracy D, and Fatz, the Tracys are well-known for their dynamic style and consistently high-energy performances. Their music is available for streaming here!

Tracy Money.jpg

Sabbatical Bob

Sabbatical Bob is committed to returning the funk to the people. These party entertainment specialists have declared an emergency state of funk, and have promised that here-now, and forevermore, things WILL be funky.

Sabbatical Bob.jpg

Congrats to OSSI Music, Sabbatical Bob, and Wes for being chosen to perform on the SpringFest day stage, and to Tracy Money, who will be opening for A$AP Ferg on April 16th!

SF Preview: Food

SpringFest is not only a celebration of the U of M community but also a celebration of food! As always, we will be bringing a variety of local flavors to Springfest 2019. Whether you are craving some authentic Mexican tacos, a chicken shawarma sandwich, or are simply looking to grab a cup of coffee, SpringFest is the place for you! We are thrilled to announce that we will be hosting the following food trucks and carts at this year’s festival, and encourage you to check them out:

Bearclaw Coffee Company:

The Bearclaw Coffee Company was founded in Chelsea, Michigan, and has been at the forefront of mobile coffee and event catering services for over a decade. Their mission is simple: “to make customers feel like family and serve the highest quality coffee.” While they began with the creation of their Mobile Coffee Fleet, they now proudly serve the Bearclaw Signature Blend at five locations. Bearclaw only uses 100% compostable World Centric cups, lids, and sleeves, and for every cup purchased, and World Centric donates 25% of their profits to grassroots social and environmental organizations.


Shimmy Shack:

Shimmy Shack is Michigan’s first and only 100% vegan and gluten-free food truck. Their goal is to reduce animal suffering, promote healthier food choices, and have a positive impact on the environment. They aim to remove the stigma attached to the word ‘vegan’ and showcase just how tasty and filling vegan food can be. Majority owner (and operator) Debra Levantrosser describes a Shimmy Shack as “a healthier fast food option” that serves all of the familiar favorites: burgers, fries, shakes, chili, nachos, and cookies.

Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 11.48.15 PM.png

Detroit Dough:

Detroit Dough is a food cart company that was founded in the summer of 2017 by Detroit residents Autumn Kyles, Victoria Washington, and Daniel A. Washington. While they have not opened up a permanent store yet, they have been working with local companies to expand their product nationwide through events such as SpringFest! Detroit Dough’s signature menu item is their Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and they will be bringing all of their wonderful, safe-to-eat cookie dough to SpringFest this month.



Truckshuka was established in January of 2017 by Benji Benoliel, who had recently come to Detroit from Jerusalem. He serves authentic Israeli street food, offering customers the opportunity to try food not typically seen within the food truck scene. His authentic Jerusalem street favorite eats are influenced by Michigan flavors, and all of the dishes are made from scratch. As the company grows, Benji aims to make a positive impact in multiple communities and to continue making healthy, tasty, authentic food at a fair price.

Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 11.47.03 PM.png

Regina’s Food Truck:

Regina’s Food Truck is one of the premier afternoon meal locations of southeast Michigan. The truck embodies the flavors and traditions of authentic Mexican cuisine and offers food rich in both flavor and culture. The truck is run by Regina herself, who, at the age of seven, moved to Troy, Michigan from Mexico. She wanted to bring her passion for Mexican food and culture to the United States, and thus, Regina’s Food Truck was born. Regina’s offers steak, chicken and vegetarian options, and proudly serves “something for everyone!”


Detroit BBQ Company:

Detroit BBQ Company began with a few men selling ribs and chicken at the Grosse Pointe Park farmers market in 2009, and business quickly took off after their participation in the inaugural “Pig and Whiskey” festival, hosted by the Detroit Metro Times. In 2014, they purchased a BBQ trailer, complete with a 500lb capacity smoker, and the rest is history. Their mission is to “provide the highest quality smoked meats at a fair price and with excellent customer service.” They aim to sell out each and every day, and SpringFest on April 16th will be no exception!


Toaster Truck Detroit:

Toaster Truck Detroit is the newest mobile food truck serving gourmet, open-faced sandwiches in the Metro Detroit area. Their health-focused menu features breakfast and lunch foods, such as their signature open-faced sandwiches, as well as some sweet selections like their peanut butter and banana toast. Toaster Truck also provides customers the opportunity to build their own toast, and proudly serves freshly brewed Great Lakes Coffee cold brew and nitro cold brew!

Screen Shot 2019-04-02 at 6.25.15 PM.png

For SpringFest 2019, you can get special discounts when you use Apple Pay Cash on select menu items at the food trucks. There will also be push carts at the festival giving away a limited number of metal water bottles when you text money to a friend with Apple Pay!

Seven exciting food trucks and a dessert cart will be featured at SpringFest 2019 with discounted food items available for purchase when you use Apple Pay Cash. Attendees without Apple Pay Cash may still purchase food from our trucks at the regular menu prices.

SF Preview: Student Organizations

Each year at SpringFest, organizations across campus gather to showcase all of the hard work that they have been doing and the projects they have been working on. Festival-goers are able to meet representatives from these organizations and are encouraged to participate in activations during SpringFest related to the organizations’ values and missions. This year, we are excited to be showcasing over 100 projects and student organizations, including:


Who They Are:

SAPAC is the Sexual Assault and Prevention Awareness Center at the University of Michigan. The organization “teaches non-violence and equality, supports survivor healing, and fosters a respectful and safe environment for all members of the University of Michigan community.” They provide services for those who have experienced sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment, and stalking, and aim to empower the students, faculty, and staff at the university. They serve all backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, and gender and social identities.

SpringFest Activation:

At SpringFest, they will be sharing information about their organization and mission, involving festival-goers in a live-action bystander activity, and handing out zines of poetry, artwork, and stories.



Who They Are:

DMUM is the Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan (DMUM). It is a student-run, non-profit organization, dedicated to raising funds and awareness for pediatric rehabilitation programs at the C.S. Mott and Beaumont Children's Hospitals. Each year, the organization holds VictorThon, an event where each member stands for 24 hours straight to raise money and show support for the children that are involved in these rehabilitation programs. DMUM was founded in 1997 and, since then, has raised over $5,500,000!

SpringFest Activation:

At SpringFest, they will be sharing information about their organization and inspiring others to join in their incredible efforts through an engaging dance activity.


He for She:

Who They Are:

He for She, founded in 2014 by the UN, is a global solidarity campaign for the advancement of gender equality. The U of M chapter of HeForShe has been raising awareness of these gender inequalities and advocating for change in the community since 2016. HeForShe believes that gender and sexuality are spectrums, not binaries, and often works directly with United Nations Women to further their mission.

SpringFest Activation:

At SpringFest, they will be sharing information about gender inequalities within the music industry and have an interactive art display.



Who They Are:

Mcity is a 32-acre mock city located on the University of Michigan North Campus, built for the testing of wirelessly connected and driverless cars. The goal of the testing is to “bring together industry, government, and academia to advance transportation safety, sustainability, and accessibility for the benefit of society.” The research done at Mcity draws from the knowledge and expertise of U of M faculty and researchers within fields such as engineering, public policy, law, business, social sciences and urban planning.

SpringFest Activation:

SpringFest will feature one of Mcity’s innovative driverless vehicles.



Who They Are:

EnspiRED, founded in 2006, is a student organization at the University of Michigan that aims to highlight the arts and artists on campus. They “serve as an advocate of the arts through several outlets including but not limited to singing, dancing, painting and so much more.” While they host a variety of events throughout the year, the largest is their annual charity fashion show, RAW, where they showcase pieces from local designers.


They will be participating in MUSIC Matters’s annual fashion show on April 13th.


Consider Magazine:

Who They Are:

Consider Magazine is a point/counter-point publication that aims to provide an open forum for discussion of significant issues facing those at the University of Michigan and beyond. Consider also runs a website that features electronic versions of issues and blog posts on various topics.  They “aim to create discussion on campus that is avoided in this technology generation.” They offer the opportunity for others to form their own opinions, as opposed to “preaching.”

SpringFest Activation:

They will have a SpringFest edition of their magazine, entitled: What Moves You?

Screen Shot 2019-03-21 at 2.57.22 PM.png

Friends for St. Jude:

Who They Are:

Friends for St. Jude supports St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as they improve means of prevention and cures for pediatric cancer. Because St. Jude Children's Research Hospital receives around 80% of its funds from donors, Friends for St. Jude’s efforts are incredibly impactful to the hospital and its efforts to advance cancer treatments and find new and innovative cures. The organization hosts an Annual Collegiate Gala, as well as other fundraisers, to help pay for patients' treatments and advance research.

SpringFest Activation:

At SpringFest, Friends for St. Jude will provide festival-goers the opportunity to send something handmade to the children at St. Jude’s Hospital.


Wolverine Support Network:

Who They Are:

The Wolverine Support Network is an organization dedicated to empowering University of Michigan students to “create an inclusive community and support each other’s identity, mental well-being, and day-to-day lives through peer-facilitated groups and bi-weekly community events.” Each year, they host an event called “MI-SPIN” that promotes the benefits of exercise on mental health. Students are encouraged to create teams and cycle for 6 hours to raise money for the Wolverine Support Network so that they can continue to create a positive impact on the community.

SpringFest Activation:

At SpringFest, they will be hosting a WSN Wellness Zone, having KIND Bar giveaways to spread positive messages about mental health, featuring an interactive art display, holding guided meditation sessions, and much more!


We cannot wait to showcase the many organizations and projects that our campus holds, and are incredibly proud to be working alongside these organizations to create an incredible day with a variety of learning and involvement opportunities!

A Look Back on SpringFest '18

- Courtney Fortin, Marketing

While working hard to plan this year’s highly anticipated SpringFest, MUSIC Matters members have been reminiscing on last year’s successful festival. Last April, University of Michigan students and the surrounding Ann Arbor community joined together for a fun-filled day, complete with art installations, a fashion show, food trucks, performances by local artists, and so much more. Over 60 student organizations united on the Diag and N. University Ave. to highlight the diverse passions and interests within the Michigan community. Whether they received a henna tattoo and learned about Sikhism from the Sikh Student Association or splattered paint at SpringFest’s Chill Zone with mental wellness clubs, festival-goers were able to learn about all of the wonderful community outreach endeavours within campus organizations. In addition to all of these great clubs, local boutiques like Bivouac, Motivation, and York Project brought in merchandise to further display all the Ann Arbor community has to offer.

SpringFest not only provided a platform for student organizations and local Ann Arbor businesses to showcase their products and initiatives, but it was also an incredible opportunity for MUSIC Matters to raise money for and spread awareness of our social ventures. Last year was the fifth year of putting on the campus-uniting festival, but it was the first year that MUSIC Matters introduced a grant program to assist other social action groups on campus. In 2017, MUSIC Matters launched our CoMMunity Partnership with Books for a Benefit, a nonprofit student organization dedicated to promoting literacy to students in southeast Michigan. Through funding and volunteering, MUSIC Matters ultimately helped BFB construct a library for the Flint community. In addition, festival-goers were encouraged to write their favorite books on bookshelves that would later be donated to BFB as well. Overall, through SpringFest, MUSIC Matters was able to create an unforgettable day that would benefit the Ann Arbor community for years to come.


The festival was capped off at night with an electrifying performance from Louis the Child and Lost Kings. While in past years MUSIC Matters has brought in various artists, such as 2Chainz, J Cole, Lil Yachty, and Migos, last year’s performance was especially unique because it was the first time that our organization brought in an electronic dance headliner. Louis the Child, who have previously headlined Coachella and Bonnaroo, enthralled the crowd at Hill Auditorium, and proceeds from the concert, as well as our fundraising efforts, further aided MUSIC Matters in supporting the missions of our CoMMunity Partners. Whether they knew it or not, everyone who attended either the day or night portion helped contribute to sparking social change in the community.

MUSIC Matters is excited to make the 2019 SpringFest bigger and better. This year, our partners are Heal-Move-Shift and Michigan Movement, and can’t wait to surpass last year’s fundraising amount by organizing an even more incredible SpringFest experience for the Ann Arbor community. We have already begun preparations for the event, and cannot wait to see all of our hard work come to fruition on April 16th.

Our Rebrand

Last semester, MUSIC Matters created an updated mission statement that we feel encompasses the true spirit of our organization and aligns more directly with our current community outreach values: “We aim to utilize the power of music to unite the Michigan community and promote educational accessibility.” Ayla Ahmed, Co-President of MUSIC Matters, explained that the need for the logo change came because “we have grown a lot from our foundation of putting on concerts into an organization with a much larger purpose— and our logo should reflect that.” With all of this in mind, our team set out to create a logo that we feel best represents our new mission statement and the organization we have become.

Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 7.29.14 PM.png

Our new logo features a pair of headphones that form a box around the words “MUSIC Matters.” The headphones come together on the left side to form the shape of a pencil, representing the education-centered social ventures aspect of our organization. This logo design was presented by Michelle Fan, one of our wonderful members. “I’ve never tried graphic design before,” Fan said, “but it’s something I’ve always been interested in.” While our previous logo was blue and green, we also decided to change our colors to blue and yellow, a combination that we feel best represents our club and ties us more closely to U of M and its values.

In order to create the logo, our graphic design team began by doing some research on the logos of other organizations, music companies, and community service groups. The team then held several design sessions where they brainstormed almost twenty logo ideas, and from there, they narrowed those choices down to three. Eventually, they decided on one logo that they felt best represented MUSIC Matters. The idea was then presented to our leadership team by Michael Barsky, our Creative Director. Using feedback from the leadership team, Michael, Michelle, and the entire graphic design team worked to finalize the logo that we now have. “The team did an incredible job moving from concept to deliverable,” Barsky said. “I am so proud of the way our team was able to unify our music production and social venture elements into a cohesive and artistic logo.” We are excited to move into this next year with our new logo, and are greatly appreciative to all within the MUSIC Matters family who contributed to the process and made this change possible!

Calling All Big Thinkers

MUSIC Matters, since its founding in 2011, has always understood the value of an education such as the one that the University of Michigan provides. However, with that understanding comes the recognition that college affordability is a problem many students seeking higher education face. So, in 2013, we founded the Big Thinkers Scholarship, a student-funded, need-based, endowed scholarship, and one of the first of its kind. The $50,000 endowment generates roughly two $2,000 scholarships per year, which are open to all current and incoming University of Michigan students.

Two years ago, we awarded this scholarship to high school student Zahra Makki, who we felt embodied the essence of a “big thinker.” She was born in Beirut, Lebanon, but moved to Dearborn, Michigan in 2006. She is now a sophomore at the University of Michigan, and, on campus, is involved in the Arab Student Association, Arabesque, and the Michigan Refugee Assistance Program. Zahra plans to major in either Public Health or Computer Science, and enjoys learning from and working with her peers, both inside and outside of the classroom. We have greatly enjoyed watching her succeed at the University of Michigan, and we can’t wait to see where she goes next!


Each year, the scholarship is accompanied by a theme. Two years ago, in alignment with the university’s goals and values, the theme was focused around the idea of civic leadership. We were searching for a scholarship applicant who we felt wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries, “think big,” and positively impact the Ann Arbor community for years to come, and we found this in Zahra.

This year, our theme is Change. MUSIC Matters has experienced a large amount of change during these past few years, and from this change we feel as though we have emerged a stronger and more impactful organization. Most notably, we have updated our mission statement to focus more on our education-centered community outreach endeavours and values. Because we know the world around us is constantly evolving, we are always searching for new ways to adapt to it and further our involvement in the community in new ways. We aim to find two open-minded and perseverant scholarship applicants with a desire to bring about a positive change in our community and a willingness to learn from and collaborate with others.

MUSIC Matters takes incredible pride in having the opportunity to help fellow and future University of Michigan students and make a true difference on campus and within the community at large. This year’s scholarship application closed on February 15, and we cannot wait to select the winners later this semester!



- Lucy Freeman, Marketing Chair

When I told my friends that the alumni from my club were funding a week-long professional development trip to LA for five members of leadership, they couldn’t believe it.

“Wow! Your club sounds so cool!”

They’re right. MUSIC Matters is an incredible organization, and the fact that an opportunity like the LA Trip exists proves how much the organization and its alumni care about the development of their members. This trip gave me insights to bring to the MUSIC Matters team back home and introduced me to roles in the entertainment industry I didn’t even know existed.

Each day of the trip we met incredible people from the some of the biggest companies in LA. One of my favorite meetings was with Brandon Shaw, the Director of Corporate and Executive Communications at ICM. We discussed ways in which MUSIC Matters could improve our public relations strategy, as well as build press contacts and brand awareness. It was incredibly moving to see how excited a Michigan alumnus was about helping and encouraging students, and equally as exciting to learn from someone with years of experience in the professional world.


Another personal highlight of the trip was our day of meetings at AEG. We met with Gary Gersh, Matt Ferrel, and James Allen. Gary, a member of the MUSIC Matters board, is an entertainment industry legend who has signed acts such as Nirvana and Counting Crows. One member on the trip, Noah, was even jokingly offered a job by Gary after demonstrating to him how to flip a Spotify playlist order. Matt Ferrel shared incredibly useful knowledge with us regarding how to structure marketing timelines most effectively for festivals (side note: he is also a partner at a super cool coffee shop with a location in Detroit, Populace Coffee). As a coffee fanatic and former barista myself, I loved seeing how he incorporated that passion into his career. Our last meeting of the day was with James Allen, who runs merchandise at Goldenvoice (think Coachella, Firefly, Hangout, etc.). I loved gaining insight as to how he effectively manages a team of creatives to create merchandise that fits with a festival theme, as well as what logistical aspects he has to consider to successfully pull off a merchandise line. The AEG offices are also super cool – decked out with neon light signs, concert photographs and posters, and even a jigsaw puzzle!

Although our days were chock-full of meetings, and that was definitely what we were most excited about, we still made time to have some fun in LA! Some of our favorite outings were walking down the Santa Monica pier, grabbing coffee at cafés, and getting ice cream sandwiches from Diddy Riese. I am also so grateful for the friendships that were formed during this trip. There is no group I would have rather walked an hour to four different coffee shops trying to find a table with.

So thank you, MUSIC Matters, for the incredible opportunity to travel to LA and meet with some absolutely amazing people. Opportunities like this are one of the many reasons I truly believe I am a part of the coolest club on campus.


Local Artist Spotlight: The Stellars

- Alex Lynch & Danny Ivanov, Local Talent

MUSIC Matters is pumped to present our second Local Artist Spotlight: The Stellars!

Raised in Ann Arbor, rock band The Stellars have solidified their place as a local favorite in the music scene throughout their time at the University of Michigan. Consistently proving themselves to students and townies alike through amazing shows in some of the area’s most noteworthy venues, as well as with a handful of outstanding releases, the group are basically rock legends. The Stellars currently feature Erez Levin on vocals, Dan Sagher on drums, Alex Fuchs on guitar, and Oren Levin on bass.

Photo courtesy of Josh Knoller

Photo courtesy of Josh Knoller

Today marks a self-proclaimed fresh start for The Stellars, as they transition from playing songs off of their 2016 album “Interthestellars” into a new era for the band. Along with the release of their brand new singles — collectively titled “The Stellars Release A Double Single 2: This Time It’s Two Songs Again” — the band will celebrate with an all-ages homecoming show tonight, January 25th, at The B-Side. Supported by close friends The Left Lanes and Nadim Azzam, the show is sure to be an exceptional, high-energy conversation between the band and the audience.

While their influences range all across the musical spectrum, the group says that this is their most punk-inspired music yet, expressed in a unique style The Stellars call “igneous rock.” The double single features a cover that is symbolic of the music it represents — a drawing of a futuristic city lies opaquely atop an image of the streets of Kerrytown late at night, intermingling the angst of the present and an excitement for the future. The double single includes tracks “The Distracted Age” (featuring the incredible Charlie Burg) and “Anakin, You’re Breaking My Heart!”.

Following this release, The Stellars say that we can expect small, consistent releases throughout the year. Due to their close connection to Ann Arbor’s music scene (most of the band grew up learning at the Ann Arbor Music Center and playing at the B-Side), the group is dedicated to connecting with the Ann Arbor community and University of Michigan students. Case in point, post a picture featuring their posters scattered around Ann Arbor and The Stellars promise to make you famous!

Corrected Stellars Distracted Age Cover 300.jpg

HoMe for the Holidays

Looking back on 2018, we have had an incredibly successful first semester. We showcased local talent at our Rock the Mic event, raised over $19,000 on Giving Blueday, selected our Community Partners for the school year, and began preparing for SpringFest this upcoming semester. We have been working tirelessly to promote educational accessibility and a love for music throughout Ann Arbor, and have some exciting projects and events coming up in the next few months.


While our responsibilities, school work, and schedules might feel overbearing during the holiday season, it’s important that we reflect on the true spirit of the holiday season and the primary mission of MUSIC Matters: giving back. As an organization and as a community, we have so much to be thankful for and so much to give back to the community, especially during the holidays. Once classes are finished and finals are turned in, we are lucky enough to have families and loved ones to return home to and celebrate holiday traditions with. We asked our MUSIC Matters family which traditions they were most thankful for and excited to celebrate. Some anticipated lighting the Hanukkah candles accompanied by Dean Martin’s “Let it Snow” or decorating the Christmas tree with Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” while others eagerly awaited baking cookies and admiring Christmas lights with family and friends.

While the answers varied, it was clear that we have so much to be appreciative of during this season and so much to give back to our Ann Arbor community. As we celebrate these traditions, we remember those who may not be as lucky as we are and the importance of the MUSIC Matters mission. So, while we are thankful that we were able to return home and spend the holidays with loved ones, we are just as excited to jump back into this next semester, work with our CoMMunity Partners Heal-Move-Shift and Michigan Movement, and continue to make a lasting impact on our community at large!

'Tis the Season for Giving

Yesterday’s Giving Blueday 2018 was a full twenty-four hours of clamoring social media feeds, pleading emails, and sneaky Venmo requests. University of Michigan students fought tooth and nail to fundraise for their organizations -- MUSIC Matters in particular united under the objective to surpass last year’s success of $27,000 in Giving Blueday donations and to reach $30,000. With the help of our charitable alumni and donors, MUSIC Matters triumphed one Giving Blueday challenge after the next, motivated by the knowledge that proceeds will support SpringFest, our lifestyle festival that brings together the Michigan community and funds our student-driven social ventures. Giving Blueday is an exciting time of year, but we realize the greater takeaway from this season of giving: we passionately advocate for and give to causes we care about not because we want to dominate the competition of fundraising challenges, but because we are recognizing our own blessings and want to give back to those who may not have the same resources that we do. To emphasize humility to our MUSIC Matters family before we dove into the pandemonium of Giving Blueday, we asked our members what they were thankful for.

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 3.21.15 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 3.21.41 PM.png

Responses were instantaneous, and many overlapped! With these blessings in mind, our MUSIC Matters team proceeded to fundraise for our organizations with fervor. Many of our members have expressed thanks and admiration for the authenticity of our social ventures and fundraising efforts. Thus, post-Giving Blueday, and every day, MUSIC Matters advances with pride in our missions. A lot has been accomplished in twenty-four hours, but with the constant support of each other and our donors, MUSIC Matters will cultivate social change to last a lifetime.

MUSIC Matters expands social impact with two new CoMMunity Partnerships: Michigan Movement and Heal-Move-Shift

- Jessica Miller

In Fall 2017, MUSIC Matters launched the CoMMunity Partnership, a $2,500 grant that we provide to student organizations on campus so that we can work together with them to help them benefit the community. Last year, our 2017-2018 CoMMunity Partner was Books for a Benefit. We worked with this fellow student nonprofit organization to help them build a library in Flint, Michigan. MUSIC Matters members collected over one thousand book donations and helped stock, decorate, paint and transform The Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village into a beautiful library for the Flint community. This year, after hearing from four incredible student organizations, our members selected Michigan Movement and Heal-Move-Shift to be our CoMMunity Partners of 2018-2019.

The CoMMunity Partnership is an important part of MUSIC Matters because one of the organization’s main goals is to impact the community in positive ways. Hearing from these four organizations was a very impactful because our members were able to see the amazing changes the students from these organizations are making on our campus, surrounding community, and across the globe. It reminds us of why we all joined MUSIC Matters in the first place: to unite the community through a shared love of music and helping others through social ventures.

Ultimately, our members chose two incredible organizations to work with for the CoMMunity Partnership. Michigan Movement is a student-run 501(C)(3) nonprofit that provides aid to individuals, families, and students experiencing homeless in Ann Arbor. They are the only organization on campus whose main goal is to provide aid to those experiencing homelessness and they do so by empowering the homeless by directly working with them. Michigan Movement helps the homeless by first consulting with them and assessing needs, and then distributing care packages consisting of food, clothes, hygiene supplies, and resource lists. Among other projects to increase awareness, the organization also volunteers and partners with Mercy House and Avalon Housing, two local organizations that help the homeless. MUSIC Matters hopes to work with them in order to aid the homeless in our community and help the organization of achieving their goal to expand outside of the Ann Arbor community.

michigan movement.jpg

MUSIC Matters will also be partnering with Heal-Move-Shift, a student organization that works with Middle Eastern and North African communities in Michigan through health training and education programs. The organization hopes to heal the community, move the conversation towards a healthier direction, and shift the stigma away from health concerns through engagement with Ann Arbor and Detroit communities. The organization works with Crestwood High School in Dearborn Heights, Michigan and Central Academy Pilot Program in Ann Arbor on the three tenets of nutritional health, cardiovascular health, and mental health. MUSIC Matters has partnered with Heal-Move-Shift in order to help them achieve their goals of expanding their programs to other schools.

michigan heal move shift.jpg

With these two CoMMunity Partnerships, MUSIC Matters is expanding their influence in the Ann Arbor and Michigan community in hopes of making real, positive change. With the help of Michigan Movement and Heal-Move-Shift, our members can engage with the community even further while continuing to inspire others through music.

The Intersection of Fine Art and Live Music

- Gabby Franco, Head of SpringFest Experience

The concert that took place at the UMMA this past Friday, October 19th, was the first ever SpringFest Showcase: A Night at the Museum. This event originated out of my desire to increase the number of music based events that MUSIC Matters, and specifically the SpringFest committee, puts on during the Fall semester on campus. I also wanted to host the event in a unique location to add diversity to the lineup of concert venues that are available to the Ann Arbor community. This venue allowed me to create a unique way for students and the larger community to engage with music and art. Rather than separating the two mediums, I wanted to bring them together and highlight the beauty of the music without the typical distractions that are associated with concerts.


The lineup consisted of three different acts, The Kelseys, Andrea Doria, and OSSI, all of which created unique yet equally alluring performances. The bands definitely attracted their individual fan bases but these attendees were introduced to new musicians and art by staying for the entirety of the event. The UMMA also generously co-hosted the event with us, which allowed us to provide the concert at zero cost to attendees, thus reinforcing our goal of uniting the community through music. This collaboration also allowed us to reach a greater spectrum of individuals across the community because our two different organizations have both overlapping and differing audiences.

Overall, I am extremely proud that our first ever concert in the UMMA went as well as it did. There was a lot of work put in by Anuksha, Danny, the local talent team and myself, and it is an amazing feeling watching everything come to fruition. I look forward to continuing to bring people together through smaller music based events and for our future collaborations with the UMMA.

CoMMunity Partnership: Past, Present, and Future

- Lucie Rosenthal, Head of CoMMunity Partnership

For those who may not know, the MUSIC in MUSIC Matters actually stands for Michigan Undergrads Serving In the Community, and although a large goal of our organization is to unite the campus through music, we also work to unite our campus through our different social ventures. Last year, MUSIC Matters debuted the CoMMunity Partnership, a new social venture aimed to help other social impact-based student organizations by providing them with a grant for up to $2500 and hands-on help from our members to complete a project.

Last year, we kicked off the CoMMunity Partnership by working with the incredible Books for a Benefit, an organization whose values we found to really align with the values of MUSIC Matters. Together, we planned and executed a library build in Flint, MI. From organizing a book drive to having hundreds of students sign bookshelves at SpringFest, putting the minds and power of our two organizations together allowed us to create social impact that would not have been possible without the support of each and every member of both organizations. Witnessing the transformation from a boring space to a vibrant library was extremely rewarding, and this year our impact is going to grow even stronger.


For the 2018-2019 school year, MUSIC Matters is fortunate enough to be able to have two Community Partners. As our CoMMunity Partnership grows, our club’s presence as a social impact organization grows, too. Seeing how passionate all of our members and other organizations are about the CoMMunity Partnership is so exciting, and I can only imagine where this year’s Partnerships will take us. MUSIC Matters is more than just music -- it’s making a difference by bringing people together.

Two Friends at Necto!


- Ashvin Sharma, Head of Artist Discovery

Matt Halper and Eli Sones are the masterminds behind the electronic dance music group Two Friends. Their passion for music production launched them from high school bedroom producers to one of the most promising DJ duos of 2018. Both Matt and Eli started as friends in 7th grade and by the time High School graduation came around they had formed the group Two Friends. Known for their viral remixes of “Mr. Brightside”, “I miss you” and “Trap Queen”, as well as their official remixes for Lana Del Rey, Tove Lo, The Chainsmokers, the duo have accelerated their growth in past years and are continuing to establish the group as a wide-ranging electronic sensation. They have also received the “Top DJ Set” award from Soundcloud for “Big Bootie Mix Volume 11.”


The duo have played at various locations throughout the U.S and Canada and have a growing international fanbase which will soon propel them in the industry. They have sold out multiple shows at venues like Necto which proves their growing popularity all over the country. Two Friends are quick to prove their versatile songwriting and production, drawing upon a wide variety of live instrumentation to create a truly multi-faceted sound with every release. With support now coming from the likes of Tiesto, The Chainsmokers, Martin Garrix, and many more, and with a whole host of original releases locked in for 2018, Matt and Eli undoubtedly look set to dominate this year and beyond.

Buy your tickets for their show at Necto on September 27th to witness their exhilarating set live!

From the Presidents of MUSIC Matters

Louis The Child.jpg

- Ayla Ahmed & Grant Rivas, Co-Presidents

As incoming MUSIC Matters Presidents, we are incredibly excited for MUSIC Matters to kick off its 8th year at the University of Michigan. Over the past three years, we have seen the organization generate positive impact across campus and look forward to carrying on this work.


This year, we hope to center MUSIC Matters around our three key pillars: driving sustainable social impact, growing our on-campus events, and creating an exceptional membership experience. To achieve these goals, we are launching several new initiatives across the organization. We are expanding our CoMMunity Partnership grant, by now supporting two partner student organizations. Additionally, MUSIC Matters will be hosting its first ever fall concert on September 27th at Necto with headlining DJ duo Two Friends. We are also providing more opportunities for new members to gain exposure to the organization by offering more trainings, learning sessions, and early leadership opportunities.


During our time in the organization, MUSIC Matters has helped us form some of our closest friendships at Michigan and develop into better campus leaders. Student organizations are essential to creating an exceptional and inclusive campus community, and MUSIC Matters is proud to be a part of what makes Michigan the home of the leaders and best.

As MUSIC Matters continues to grow, we hope to share this wonderful organization with even more students. If you are interested in joining the MUSIC Matters community, come to our mass meetings on September 11th and 12th at 7pm in Blau 3580 or email us at!